Thursday, September 11, 2014

Berry Peach Cobbler Baked Oatmeal (THM – E)

I stumbled onto a recipe for a single serving peach cobbler baked oatmeal, and used that as inspiration to make a larger version.  This is family approved, and I love that this single pan feeds us for two full days, plus two additional servings. Wow!  It's also inexpensive - double win :)

Berry Peach Cobbler Baked Oatmeal (THM – E)

5 large or 6 medium peaches
2 c berries (if using a frozen blend, no need to defrost)
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 scoops protein powder* (I use this from Swanson's)
3 c oats, ground into flour (using a blender or coffee grinder)
1/3 c Truvia
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt (grey Celtic or pink Himalayan)
2 c old-fashioned oats (NOT quick cooking) – soaked with ACV for 12-24 hours, drained and rinsed **
2 c almond milk
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 350. Roughly chop peaches (I leave the skins on) and place in large bowl.  Gently toss with berries, spices and protein powder, then pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Wipe out bowl, then dump in the dry topping ingredients (first 6 in list) and stir together.  Add all remaining ingredients and mix well.  Pour over fruit. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until topping is set and there’s some light browning.

Store in fridge.  Makes 10 surprisingly filling servings (I score it into ten sections after it's cooled) – I like to have mine with a dollop of Greek yogurt (with vanilla and a bit of stevia stirred in) and a drizzle of almond milk.  

* the type of protein powder really does make a difference; 99% of the stuff you pick up at Walmart isn't actually providing much nutrition to your body.  Good article with more info on that here
**more info on soaking grains such as oatmeal HERE 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Some of my "Life" Books

So there's a "Top 10 Books" meme floating around FB right now.  One of my friends from high school tagged me when she shared her Top 12, and I followed her lead on flexing the rules a bit :)  Sharing the list here, along with some chatter:

1. Bible - pretty self explanatory.  "My" first official copy was a white hardback with a painting of Jesus on the front.  I believe it was the Good News version - but mostly I remember the stickers in the back (earned during Sunday School). Current version is NIV/Message Parallel.
2. Experiencing God (Blackaby) - I did this study when D was only a few months old.  We met in a friend's home, and there were something like 12 of us ladies and over 30 kids under the age of 6. Yeah.  But despite the insanity, this study grabbed onto my heart.  And I swear that I'd never heard Hebrews 12:7-11 before.
3. Fit to be Tied (Hybels) - someone (I think it might have been one of the librarians I worked with in college?) gave me this book shortly after the now-hubby & I became engaged.  He was 22 and I was 21, and we were engaged 15 months (it seemed like an eternity!) Lots of excellent advice on what being married really means. Hmmm, think I may need to pull it out again, now that I think about it.
4. Professionalizing Motherhood (Savage) - I worked in the "corporate world" seven years before leaving to become a full-time Mom. I was excited about that transition, but also weirdly adrift/disappointed because I no longer had measurements of productivity. This was a book that helped me adjust my perspective, and I've recommended it repeatedly to other new moms.
5. The Search for Significance (McGee) - I first learned of this book during high school and read part of it, then in college (after changing my major to Psychology) I finished working through it (the author is the founder of Christian counseling center). Picked up the updated version when pregnant with our son, and it was still an excellent read.
6. Trim Healthy Mama (Barrett, Campbell) - I was introduced to this a year ago, but it's absolutely a life changer. So thankful to feel positive about the direction I'm headed physically!
7. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (Lewis) - I honestly can't remember a time I didn't love books, but I DO vividly thinking I hated anything that was sci-fi or fantasy, but this book changed my perspective. My parents purchased the Narnia box set on a Scholastic order in 3rd grade for $20 (we didn't normally order from there, and I can remember being shocked that my parents would spend that much money). I still have that box set, and it is very worn (I still remember being very angry with my brother when he read them and didn't treat them with the proper respect).
8. The Secret Garden (Burnett) - another childhood favorite. I received a beautifully bound copy of this book as a Christmas gift from an aunt & uncle, and I had not even heard of it.  I remember being somewhat confused when I started reading, but was soon drawn into the story. Dark and gothic, yet corny & uplifting.
9. Deadline (Alcorn) - read shortly after we were married, and I was surprised that a Christian novel could be so well-written, and I also found my comfortable existence shaken up a bit.  I've read several of Alcorn's other books, and I was torn whether to include this one or Safely Home (I chose the one that was published earlier).
10. What Alice Forgot (Moriarty) - an amazing novel that I read two years ago because I was sick of seeing it on so many "You Really Should Read This!" lists. And know what, you should! Although not a Christian novel, it made me stop and think about how many blessings I take for granted...
11. Threads of Change Trilogy (Baart) - I just discovered these amazing books this year, and have recommended them to several friends.  Christian novels that aren't afraid to tackle hard issues and don't provide trite answers, but a beautiful depiction of grace.
12. Snuggle Puppy (Boynton) - Yes, this is a board book.  I read this to both kids and made up my own song. I can still sing it - and both kids occasionally request it. "The way I feel about you is a kind of a song..."

It was so difficult to narrow this down, as I do love me some books. Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, several series by Janette Oke, If God Loves Me Why Can't I Get My Locker Open?, I'm Glad I'm a Woman, A Grief Observed, Addicted to Mediocrity, Outland comics (better known as Opus & Bill) - as well as Calvin & Hobbes and later Baby Blues, Naked Fruit (about the fruits of the spirit - ha!), Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad, Life Artist, Storybound... 

Oh, how awesome to lose oneself in a well-written story, or find yourself changed by a few well written sentences!

On that note, I do believe I shall share this tidbit from the book currently on my nightstand, God's Heart for You:
Real friends tell you when you have something in your teeth. They love you enough to speak the truth, and Jesus is our most faithful friend of all. He sees deep within our hearts and tells us when something is stuck there that doesn't belong. His correction always comes with grace, not condemnation.  ~Holley Gerth

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday Funny

Haven't done one of these in awhile, but this was awesome:

5 Minutes in a Mom's Head

An excerpt of my morning thoughts, but sadly this isn't nearly as funny...

Ahhhh.... Sleepy.  Oh crud, I must have pushed snooze! Why don't I remember doing that?  I need a shower. Wait, no time now - will get A in the shower, and then I'll grab one after I drop her at school.  Man, I hope I don't have to get out of the car.  Of course my roots are awful anyway.  Did I ever buy that box of hair color?

I hear stomping, so at least D is up already. Did he finish that project last night? What can he eat for breakfast? There are some leftovers from dinner - wait, hubby probably is eating those right now before leaving for work. What can I make for dinner tonight? I had that meal plan all made out, just wish I could remember where I left the paper. Wait, paper.  Did I already sign A's homework log?

Ahhhhh, tomorrow is Saturday!!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

One of those weekends...

We're getting some much-needed rain here - but sadly it also means that I've had a nasty headache all weekend.  Son is doing a project for his pre-AP Language Arts class and we've been butting heads a bit on that.  I have a mammogram scheduled for this week.  And just tonight, I discovered our daughter has lice.  Yes, after only one week of school (the clerk at CVS commented they'd been selling a lot of lice product this week.  Somehow knowing I'm not alone doesn't exactly make it better.)

On the plus side, hubby has tomorrow off and kids have school.  Hubby wants to go shooting, but I'm not sure that me + firearms is the best idea ;)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Blintz Breakfast Bake (THM - S)

A few weeks ago, a friend on FB shared a Blintz Breakfast Casserole, and as I looked at the recipe, I thought, "I could totally THM-ify that!" I tried out a half batch (8x8 pan) and shared it with the THM group, and it was very well received :) I've made it twice since, and can confirm that it does freeze/reheat well, so here's the full sized version.  I also took additional pictures of the process, as some ladies mentioned they were having difficulty with the layers, but hopefully the photos make it easier to understand.  It's a nice option when you want something "fancy" for breakfast, but with very affordable ingredients.  Add some more sweetener, and it can easily become a dessert.

Blintz Breakfast Bake (S)
1 cup cottage cheese
8 oz package of neufchatel (reduced fat cream cheese), at room temp
1 tsp vanilla
2 doonks* of pure white stevia powder
2 eggs
1/4 c coconut flour
1/3 c golden flax meal (slightly heaping)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used nonfat, but higher fat would be fine, too)
1/4 c Truvia (or erythritol or xylitol)**
1/2 c butter, softened
1 tsp almond extract (or another extract of your choice; the original recipe called for orange juice so I initially used orange extract, but I actually prefer the almond)
1/2 c almond milk
8 eggs
Preheat oven to 325 if using a glass pan, or 350 if using a metal pan, and grease 9x13 pan. Pour topping ingredients into blender and puree, then set aside. In a bowl, combine the first 4 base ingredients, and use a fork to remove any clumps. Add all remaining ingredients and stir together (a few small lumps are OK). Pour into pan, then gently pour/spoon topping over (it will swirl together somewhat, and that’s fine). Bake for about 50 minutes, until center is set, then let stand for at least 5 minutes. Top with on-plan jam or fresh berries.
*most pure stevia powders come with a teensy little scoop that measures 1/32 tsp, which somehow came to be called a doonk
**you could use stevia here as well, just microwave a Tbsp or so of the batter so you can taste it before baking and adjust sweetness as desired.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Daughter's Video Diary

I was clearing the emptying the camera's SD card when I discovered this gem from our daughter: her documentation that she really did empty the dishwasher.  Too funny not to share.  Please excuse the piles on the kitchen counters.

Another school year!


I don't know how it's possible, but our firstborn is now in middle school. Whoa.  He still likes it after two days :)  The big highlight on Monday was riding the bus - he's been longing to do this ever since kindergarten, but this is the first time that we finally are in a bussing zone.  I walked with (well, behind) him Monday morning just to make sure everything went OK - it's a whole quarter mile away, but there's no sidewalk (and drivers usually are doing about 10 over the speed limit on that stretch) but all was well. He's in pre-AP (advanced level) classes for all his regular academics, which will be a stretch, but we think he can handle it.  One thing I love about living in a smaller town is how you know about certain teachers & such... his math teacher attends a local church and we have several mutual friends, and his language arts teacher actually goes to our church. Seriously, how awesome is that? I have to admit that I had a few qualms about sending him off this year, but I know he's in God's hands.  There's also a YoungLife group that meets once a month, so he'll be checking that out -- looking forward to getting him better connected with some fabulous kids.

Daughter is now in 4th, and was happy to be back with her friends, and is very much looking forward to starting up GT (the Gifted - Talented program) next week.

Just have to share these for fun. I took the kids for haircut on Thursday (and that was right before the stylist started chopping away at the back of A's hair - she decided she was ready for something different).  D finished first, and he was reading a Calvin & Hobbes book that I had snagged for a quarter at the library the previous week.  This was his first introduction to the mischievous boy & his tiger sidekick, and he couldn't stop laughing at their antics.  He's not a big reader, so anytime he gets pulled into a book it's a win :)